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To combine and bring together all the people of a country is known as national integration. It is a feeling which combines all the people irrespective of their colour, race, caste, region and religion etc. It is the only force with the help of which all types of people live together peacefully and considering themselves the members of single whole. 1
THE STATE OF NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN PAKISTAN
Pakistan is facing the problem of national integration since its creation. The lack of national integration is a big problem. Owing to the absence of national integration Pakistan has been pushed to cruel circle. It has made Pakistan a sorry state of affairs, and has made Pakistan the centre of terrorist activities. Due to this problem Pakistan has become an instable and vulnerable state and a total breakdown of state machinery. This was not the problem at first. Pakistan was the result of integration on the basis of Islam. Unfortunately after the death of Quaid-e-Azam the country was isolated. National integration faced too many problems. At this rate, income inequalities, social injustice, political blow and other evils raised their heads. All of these made national integration weak and fragile. There is lack of consensus on important national issues in Pakistan. For that reason the provinces hate each other. The Punjab is being accused by the rest of three provinces i.e. Sindh, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Baluchistan for exploiting their resources and not paying there just share. Sindh, Baluchistan, and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa are against the construction of Kala Bagh dame while Punjab wants to construct it. On the issue of NFC award the three provinces having the same reservation from Punjab. There are too much hurdles and difficulties in the way of national integration of Pakistan. It is necessary to vanish the sentiments of regionalism or provincialism languisticism or communalism etc.
Some of the important reasons of the failure of national integration of Pakistan are as below:
CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP
After the death of Quaid-e-Azam there was hardly any leader upon whom the nation could be united. Every leader prefers his personal interest rather than national interest. They built up economic assets on illegal means. Thus they exploited the national purse on the coast of national interest and promoted personal interests. Therefore national integration remained weak and fragile.2
There is a big gap between rich and poor. The system of Pakistan has been structured such that the gulf between poor and rich become widen with the every passing day. Rich become richer and the poor become poorer and poorer. It strengthens the upper and privileged class of society. It never cares of the lower class of the society. Thus the economic inequalities led towards the weakness of the national integration.3
PROVINCIAL BIASES AND SOCIAL INJUSTICE
Beside the lack of social justice and provincial biases are posing a threat to the basic existence of the country. It leads towards the destabilization of the state and shaking the basis of national integration of the country. The smaller provinces have developed the sense of deprivation. They think that they have been deprived of their just share in the national exchequer and of their just royalty. It has developed the age-old animosities among the provinces. Social justice is the only solution of national integration in Pakistan. The water dispute existed among the provinces. It has posed a major threat to national integration. The provinces have objections on the construction of Kala Bagh dam which has detracted the confidence and unity of the country.
Likewise the dispute over NFC (National Finance Commission) award also posing serious threats to national integration. The provinces don’t agree on the formula in which the resources are to be divided on the basis of population. This creates great hurdles in the way of national integration of Pakistan.
The sense of regionalism has been fuelled by the lack of socio economic justice in the country. Regionalism has divided the whole nation into small and paltry classes. It has created fractions, groups, sects working for their vested interests. Jeye Sindh, Baluch Liberation Front and Baluch liberation army are struggling for the secession from federation. So the question of national integration remain unaddressed and at low priority.
There is a trend of promoting personal interest, class interest, group interest and faction and regional interest instead national interests. Almost all parties are talking about Sindhies, Baluchies, Pukhtoons, and Punjabies and other small groups. There is no talk about Pakistan. This politics of regionalism has widened the gulf between different sections of the society. It has shaken the basis of national integration of Pakistan.4
Military intervention has weakened the basis of national integration. During military rule the small provinces has been deprived of there just share. East Pakistan seceded during military rule. The military regime failed to promote the sense of ones in the two wings of Pakistan.5 Baluchistan issue also emerged during military rule.
Political stability is the most important prerequisite for strengthening the national integration. Unfortunately Pakistan is lacking this requirement since very long. The political instability has widened the gulf between the ruling class and the ruled class. It has distorted the picture of Pakistan and made it retrogressive in all spheres. Political instability has posed a big threat to national unity and integrity.
Lack of unity and integration has pushed behind the objectives for which Pakistan was created. It has also rhythm of national progress. As a result the nation has become hallow from within in terms of national integration.6
Pakistani is a plural society. There are living many linguistic groups which is problem. Some time it poses serious threats for the geographical integrity of the state. Pakistan lost its eastern wing owing to many problem of which the language problem was one of the important problem. In today’s Pakistan the difference of language is still a problem in the way of national integration of state. It is very much important for Pakistan to have a language policy which is helpful for the promotion of all languages equally. The current policy has created a sense among the small linguistic groups that the government is only promoting Urdu at the coast of regional languages. All the provinces have been divided into more than one linguistic group which contributing to the instability of country.7
Media is a source of information and education. It is the most effective mean of change and information. Media is expected to play a positive role in image building of the state. It is the responsibility of media to promote national interest and national integration. In a democratic society the role of media is to be of a watchdog. It is the need of the time that our media should strive for building of soft and positive image of the state.8
Media is the link between the people of a country which propagate the news throughout the country and world by means of electronic devices known as electronic media i.e. radio, TV, net etc and by the means of print media i.e. newspapers, journals, and magazines etc.
Media is the most effective source of communication. It enriches the people knowledge about the right and wrong. On the one hand media is breaking false news without proper investigation, yet on the other hand it inform us about the realities.9
POWER OF MEDIA
Media is a link between people and societies. Without media they would have been isolated. In the current century media has very much powerful. With the help of media we came to know about the happenings around the world. It unveils the truth and injustice done to people. It rules over the mind of the people. Media educate the people and moulds their opinion, making and toppling the governments makes a hero a villain and a villain a hero. It changes the life style, thinking, culture and tradition of a society.
Power of media can be judged through its role as a source of information, education and entertainment. It has changed the world into a global village.10
ROLE OF MEDIA IN NATIONAL INTEGRATION
Pakistani media is playing very irresponsible role. Talk shows and political debates don’t consider themselves subject to limits. In debates the participants using abusive language against each other. The anchor persons are fuelling the arguments and counter arguments. They don’t care for the fact that what type of image they are going to develop publically. What the people will think about them. This trend is conveying a very negative massage inside and outside of the country. Media as opinion maker models the opinion of the people. These talk shows are creating prejudice among the workers of different political parties. And in some cases they get violent against each other.11
In the name of freedom of press media, some time crossing the limits. There is a race among the different channels for breaking news which led to a fierce situation. They are using negative tools for increasing the number of viewership.12
Media has to play a positive and productive role in a society. Education is one of the important factors in promoting national integration. On the same lines media has a very affective role in educating the society. The use of media especially of internet has a lot of contribution in educating society. It is the responsibility of media to unveil the true picture of society.
But unfortunately most of the press is prejudice. They are propagating the distorted picture of reality as they want. Media should show responsibility. They should show love and affection instead of hate. They should play a constructive role in providing education to the people and show them the real picture of the world as it is. They should not sensitize the issues. Honest coverage is the spirit of journalism. The media can led the society towards betterment if they start factual reporting. These are some of the major flaws in media if these could be addressed justly they can play an active role in national integration. Ibid media persons and press should be devoted and self reliable. They should show great social responsibilities that would. 13
THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN NATIONAL INTEGRATION
Media is the reflection of any country. It shows the way of living and behaviour of the people of any country. The way of expressing news, the way the politicians talking, in talk shows and political debates, show the attitude of the people of that country. The media is bound to spread reality and should be careful of its responsibilities. Media should aware the public without influencing their mind negatively the mind of public and make them able to protest in true manner which could result oriented. Mc Combs and Shaw consider the media as, “the mass media sets the agenda for political campaigns, influencing public attitudes toward desired issues”. Pakistani media is more responsible than any other media of the other countries of the world because Pakistan needs a big change and the media is the powerful source of change. Now-a-days media is easily accessible to all walks of life through various means electronic means and press i.e. TV, radio, mobile, internet, newspapers, journals, magazines etc. Media is a force which moulding the opinion of the people. Media changes the approach of the people towards different issues which perform very important role in highlighting certain attributes of issues. Guardians of the media, i.e. news editors, play fundamental role in determining the media outline which become public outline after some time.14
With the appearance of new century the press has become independent. There are TV channels which give coverage to the issues around the country in Pakistan. Media has a lot of contribution in educating the public about issues, but unfortunately media has badly failed in changing the behaviour of the people towards many issues. Media broadcast issues in a way that it boost people instantaneously just after the news report while the people don’t know that what they should do in that particular scenario and who they can play a constructive role. Media has to discourage strongly such type of negative approach of the general mass. Demonstrations and protests are good to build up pressure towards solution of any problem but there should be in a right way to demonstrate which should result oriented.
With every passing day the reputation of Pakistani media has corrupted owing to its failure in systematically comprehending affairs. Instead of spreading true root cause of issues, media is just adding wordings over the issue and crisis. The coverage of political issues by our media is heavily episodic rather than subjective. There is a number of political talk shows on different TV channels in Pakistan. No programme out of these having an ending or concluding words that could be helpful for people to understand that what will be the possible solution to the problems facing by them. Every program discusses the one and the same issue with different names. Somewhere it is Capital Talk, somewhere it is Aaj Kamran Khan ki sath, To the Point, Kal Tak, Ikhtilaf, Jarga, Likin, etc etc. But no programme has a fruit full ending. There is no difference of information and viewpoint of different political figures. There is no ray of hope regarding the solution of any problem. No politician can give remedy nor they coming to the point of solution.15
Constitution of Pakistan gives fundamental rights to citizens. But media does not give importance to it. Instead they are interested in sensitization of issues and news. They are broadcasting such news where they can found something where fundamental rights of citizens are violated.16
Being the powerful pillar of the state media has to save the country form sudden slippage. Media is independent for a long time but it could not show positive role in changing the rebellious attitude of the people. Pakistani media should represent this country with immense care because this country is not only important for Islamic world but for the peace of the world as well. Media should be very much careful while representing this country in the globe and guiding the people of this country to bring out this country form the problems surrounding it. It is the responsibility of media to show the real picture of Pakistani nation to the world, its thinking on the global issues. It represents the culture of Pakistan. Thus media is on the most responsible position. It has to tell the world about Islam and Pakistan and the implications of Islam on Pakistan. Majority of the channels are highly politicised while they should for Islamic norms and values. Some of the channels are religious while some are representing secular group. These are representing Pakistan from two different perspectives. This type of media, with two totally different angles widening cultural gap in Pakistan which ultimately results in creating two rival groups in Pakistan. Our media showing the world two different cultures and directing the people to divide into two groups, with one fundamental thoughts and other secular thoughts. 17
For promoting a peaceful and balanced society it is important for all media channels to represent the real culture neither of Pakistan which is neither extremist nor vice versa. Francis Fukuyama, (1995) says that, “A thriving civil society depends on a people’s habits, customs, and ethics- attributes that can be shaped only indirectly through conscious political action and must otherwise be nourished through the increased awareness and respect for culture”. Unfortunately in Pakistan we are lacking a free and transparent political system, but we have an independent media. Media is more powerful than political parties. Hence media can play an important role in moulding the fate of society towards betterment. Pakistani culture is one and the same and that is Islamic. By dividing it into two divergent cultures creates democratic problems for our society. Media can bridge both the gulf which has been created by one way or other since the creation of Pakistan by playing positive and sensitive role. Some of the already existing groups are distorting the picture of Pakistan by developing false picture of Pakistan and Islam. To minimize the influence of such groups all Pakistani media should represent the true picture of Islam and Pakistan. The entire news and drama channels should adopt national dress symbols of Pakistan which at the same time is Pakistani and Islamic. Unfortunately models, actors, reporter and anchors of media channels follow such a way of speaking, negotiating and apparels which are not true picture of Pakistan and Islam.
In a nutshell we can say that media should enhance its role in educating the people that they may be able to participate sensibly to influence the mess. Furthermore media have to build up its status among the society by touching the hidden bonds of society i.e. its culture. Though there are varieties of cultures in our society but all of them surrender to a common culture of Islam. Media has to communicate with the people of society as its part. Tariq Alvi says, “â€¦..Stress the importance of culture, which may vary even within a country, in negotiating any complex deal you need to understand the values of the people you are dealing with, even if you do not accept their values yourselfâ€¦â€¦..”. Therefore media should be very much carful about the culture of Pakistan to integrate the people of Pakistan towards prosperity and development while living within Islamic boundaries.18
Media is being considered as the fourth pillar of the state. In this regard it is expected that it may play a very active role in promoting national integration especially our plural and heterogeneous and divergent society. But unfortunately it has been observed the so called independent media has created violence and hatred on many occasions. Recently Muttahidda Quami Movement’s leader Altaf Hussain and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Zulfiqar Mirza’s speeches has been widely reported in our media which resulted in hundreds of mass killing in Karachi. Likewise media’s strong campaign for Lal Masjid operation in 2007 had promoted extremist to kill thousands of soldiers and civilians in target killing and suicide attacks.19
Our media provides us entertainment in forms of Dramas, songs and movies and some funny programmes as ‘hum sub umeed se hain’ etc. All these are surrounded by romance, love affairs, violence, glamour, big cars, big houses and a clash of poor and rich. All these in no way reflect our culture or represent our culture and civilization. Hardly we can see a programme with a positive and moral result in the democratization of our young generation.20 All these provided to us by media, are responsible for disaster and anarchy in our society. Media has badly failed in providing us role models that could unite our divergent society.21
Media’s interest is market drivers and for the sake of rating. It can even compromise on national integration. The supporters of this media argues that media is beating the triumphant Aman ke Asha, which will stop the flow of water towards Pakistan. They projecting the marriage ceremony of Shoib and Sania Mirza, telecasting Altaf Hussain’s singing, the hatred remarks of Zulfiqar Mirza are breaking news for them for increasing rating and number of viewership. In this scenario how one can expect from media that they will promote national integration rather they are causing disintegration.22
The most recent example of rating is Malala’s issue which have been given undue coverage. tens of children die almost every day in drone attacks no channel roused voice for any one of them. It makes the people to think who are being suffered that are they not been given that much projection and thus finally they came on violence against state and all other players of the game. This trend finally led towards destruction of national integration. Before the attack on Malala the media gave very unfair projection to Sharmin Obaid Channaoye. She has made a movie with the name of, “Face Saving”. In this she had highlighted an issue in which the husbands threw acid on the faces of females. In this issue she has given very negative picture of Pakistani society. She has represented the people brutal, merciless and cruel. She had used the innocent women for her movie. According to print media reports the women who was used for this purpose was not given her wage and neither was given medical treatment. For her this alleged movie she was prised in Europe and USA and awarded with Oscar Award because she presented a highly exaggeratedly negative picture of Pakistan. Pakistani media given that lady very high projection and presented her as heroin of Pakistan. This kind of reporting and projection is very negatively impacting the image of Pakistan abroad.
Media is selling negative news hypes. Media will never make breaking news of a positive development in the violence turned tribal area. Professor Inam Ullah of department of Journalism university of Peshawar says, “If you tell any channel that 20 girls got admission in a school in Mohmand Agency no channel will broad cast this news because there is no sensitization in this news and channels don’t take interest in such news. On the other hand if you told them that a school has been blown up in the same place or any other area then switch on your TV and tune any channel you will see that all channels are broad casting that news with any investigation and conformation. This is the interest of media. They are sensitizing the issues creating thrill. They are in race and competition. They don’t care for national integration or any other positive activity. They just want to break the news before any other news channel breaks it.”23
By promoting news with hype is just for the increase of viewers and earn maximum money by commercial advertisement. The people are also responsible for this trend of media. Media is selling what the people want to buy. It is now a business not a source of education or information. People like Indian movies, songs and programmes. TV channels broadcasting these things for increasing the number of viewership. If a channel even tries to telecast a debate on national integration the people don’t like to watch it. According to this school of thought if media does not broad caste the hatred of the politician they have in their hearts they won’t be able to do justice to themselves.24
Another irony is that media does not give equal coverage to each political party. They are broad casting a five hours press conference of Altaf Hussain directly from England while the next day they don’t give 5 minutes time to another political party. They don’t publish the manifesto some parties while giving coverage to the minute things of other political party. (amir jam’ati Islami sayed munawar Hassan interview with Wajahat Saeed Khan, Ajj TV talk show “Ikhtilaf” on Nov 2, 2012). This trend of media is damaging for national integration of our country. TV channels have no concern to play positive role to bridge the gap which has been created the absence of good governance in different section of society. They are just interested in sensitive news and want to break such news which can attract more and more viewers.25
Almost all TV shows are made for urban consumerist population a soft victim for advertisers. These shows are full of sumptuous cooking; ingredients are the product so of huge companies and plays in which families Banarasi Saris, gold jewellery, and full makeup in their daily lives at houses.26
When the working class are the lower and poor class of a society who are hardly living their lives, watch all these things a desire came in their heart for such lavish life. But their pocket does not allow them to afford. They get frustrated and thus a feeling of hate emerges inside them. they turned severely against the upper and privileged class of society and thus against the whole system. This finally poses many threats to national integration. This mindset is responsible for so many social evils.
TV commercials also playing the same role. They ate are showing the products of big companies which are practically out of the range of the society at large. In these commercials the life is imaginary which can be seen only on TV screen but not possible in practical life. The culture is being represented neither in dramas and movies nor in TV commercials.27
With so much social estrangement between haves and have-not, can they identify with the country our media depicts? How we can expect them to have patriotic feeling or the right values? the writer of the article wrote her personal experience in such words, “I remember a child show in which actress was asked if she would give a massage to children, enthusiastically she replied, “khao, peyo aur maze karo”,.28
this is the massage normally given by TV anchors and shows. When a child of poor parents receive such massage and then they demanding for such a life where one’s concentrate is just upon eating, drinking and enjoyment, and his/her parents could not afford this both parents and child get frustrated and turned against the system. They will try to snatch this luxurious life form those who living it irrespective of the fact that he can live such life or not but at least the upper class should not live it.
Instead of a massage could be given to care about the less fortunate, do study better, to be respectful towards their elders, to be honest in their dealing or not to litter and through garbage all over the place. Insight and aspiration for nation building could have been given. But do media persons care? 29
RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMES AND NATIONAL INTEGRATION
There are so many so called religious programmes in which religious scholars appear who came on different TV channels and interpret Islam from their own perspective and point of view. They are crazy of popularity, money and modernity. There is a huge gap between the interpretation of modern ulama and the orthodox ulama. There are people who cannot bear either of the opponent group. They turned against each other and especially the followers of orthodox ulama even came on aggression which causes too many problems in our society. Dr Javed Ahmad Ghamdi, Dr Faroop (late) Dr Aamir Laiqat Hussain is among the modern ulam. Orthodox ulama have issued fatwas against them. The death of Dr Farooq is being connected with this opposition of ideas among orthodox and modernists. He was given threats to take his modern ideas back or then get ready for drastic consequences.
Without media neither we can formulate an opinion nor can resolve any problem. Media has the potential of projecting any culture and give a sense of belonging to people belonging to different backgrounds. But unfortunately there are many examples where media could not come up with the expectations of the people.
From the above discourse it reveals that media in Pakistan does not deliver according to the needs of the nation. Their more concentration remains on market. How to increase the number of viewership, how to attract advertisers and how to break fresh news before any other do it. In this race and competition they often broadcast false and sensitive news.
Media is the most responsible institution of any state. In a state like Pakistan its responsibilities are more sensitive than any other country. Today Pakistan is the focal point of the world. All the countries have interest in Pakistan and thus they analyzing the situation every minute.
Being a responsible institution media in Pakistan should avoid sensitizing the news. All those news should not be telecasted which can rise the communal or ethnic crisis. Every day we observe that someone has committed suicide, someone has been killed for being shia or Sunni, a school has blown up in so and so area, target killing are going on in Karachi, a shrine of some famous personality has blown up by terrorists etc, etc. After careful analysis all this type of news are poison for national integration. It weakens the roots of national unity and feeling of oneness. A feeling of hatred emerges in the hearts of people against each other which led towards communal crisis, ethnic crisis, provincialism and regionalism.
The media should avoid such type of news and reports. They should give very little coverage to such news and concentrate on positive news that the people may get hopeful for better prospects in future.
Different talk shows on different TV channels are creating illusion among the people. The politicians who are supposed to guide the people in difficult times are talking in a highly uncivilized manner in TV programs which does not suite their status.
Media should work as a beacon and candle. It can do anything to make hero a villain and a villain a hero. It should lead the nation in a right direction. They should not work as the agent of western media and organization as puppet in their hands as it has been working.
It is the need of the day that the intellectuals should discuss this problem seriously. Media is a tool which can be used for positive purposes very fruitfully.
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